Labour tells only half the truth over Timberlands. Threatened wildlife endangered by felling habitat trees. High conservation values also in eucalypts and pine. Native Forest Action, and Forest & Bird to note. Department of Conservation survey results in question.

Labour continues to tell only half the truth over Timberlands

    4 February 2000.

Press Release from Chris Perley, Forest Consultant

This letter was sent to all MPs and all available news media.

Media release: 4 February 2000.

Labour continues to tell only half the truth over Timberlands

"Claims by the Ministers of Conservation and Forestry that Timberlands had to be stopped from managing beech because the forests have medium to high conservation value are a nonsense," says Chris Perley, a spokesperson for a group opposed to the government's abuse of science in relation to Timberland's beech management proposal.

"The Ministers continue to claim the myth that use is incompatible with retaining high conservation values, and they continue to misinform the public on the issue. It is simply not true. In some overseas forests - such as areas in the northern Adirondark State forest of New York - the higher conservation values are in the forests that are managed, with the greatest diversity of habitat."

The Press Release from the Ministers claimed that a DOC survey showed that 90 percent of Timberland's native forests had medium to high conservation values. "This is not in dispute", said Chris Perley. "However, a survey completed at about the same time also assessed cutover indigenous forests (that were) subsequently replanted in exotics, including eucalypts and pine, according to Mr Perley. "They have not released the documents, but if this is it, then the survey also showed that there were high conservation values within these ex-cutover sites planted in exotics. Are the Ministers suggesting that they also should never have timber extracted from them or that pine forests should be put in a national park?

Mr Perley said that the rest of the world accepts that we can, and must, protect conservation values while accommodating human use. "Apparently the government is still taking advice from extreme preservationists who do not accept that fact. The ministers would be better off by listening to some science and looking at overseas experience, instead of relying on the misinformation tactics of the Native Forest Action, and Forest & Bird Society, who are extremists by world standards."

Those scientists and resource professionals interested in the Timberlands issue would suggest that the debate will be served if the ministers instructed the Department of Conservation to immediately publish the report on their website. "We would welcome such a move," said Mr Perley. "Those interested in sustainable forest management have nothing to hide."


Chris Perley is a Dunedin-based forest and natural resource consultant with qualifications in forestry science, agricultural science, and philosophy. He has a background as a practising forester and a policy analyst, with special interests in sustainable land management, environmental philosophy and ecological economics.


Chris Perley
Chris Perley and Associates
PO Box 7116

Ph: +64 3 453 4948
Fax: +64 3 453 4945
Mob: +64 25 880 977

"Think Like a Mountain"       --     Aldo Leopold